The reinstatement of a national airline? As far as the Senegalese Government’s ‘Plan Emergent Senegal’, Senegalese President Macky Sall, and Senegalese Minister for Transport and Tourism, Maimouna Ndoye Seck are concerned – Air Senegal could be on the return.
In April 2016, Senegal Airlines ceased operations and Senegal’s Minister of economy, finance and planning said that “Senegal has initiated the process of creating a new airline..in the coming days, we should have a new airline.”
The Senegalese Ministry of Transport issued a statement on Tuesday, April 12 2016 indiciating the airline’s designation as ‘flag-carrier’ had been revoked after it failed to deliver on its mandate. “Despite the ongoing support of the State of Senegal, Senegal Airlines has not delivered on the development objectives assigned to it in its Concession Agreement. It is recalled that this agreement guaranteed the airline the exclusive use of air traffic rights held by Senegal,” it said. (credit CH-Aviation.com)
The new national airline, Air Senegal will hopefully start operations in December when the new Blaise Diagne International Airport in Diass, Senegal, is finally opened. During the Paris Airshow of 2017 Air Senegal signed up for two brand new state of the art ATR 72s which it plans to use for its domestic network which the airline will start off serving. These will be delivered in November and plans for further aircraft will evolve over three to five years, with the intention of acquiring two medium-haul aircraft for regional routes and a long-haul suitable aircraft for international sectors, like the Paris–Dakar route. Air Senegal then hopes to expand using mixed fleet to serve regional destinations and then International flights at a later stage. Air Senegal hope to operate a Paris – Dakar route in the late quarter of 2018.
The new airline has appointed its CEO as Philippe Bohn, formerly of Airbus Group as senior business-development executive. Mamadou Lamine Sow has been named Chairman of the Board. Air Senegal hopes that this fresh team of professionals will produce much needed confidence in the new airline following previous attempts. Charman Mamadou expressed that “Failure will be the foundation of success. Air Senegal International’s previous problems resulted from trying to operate with outside partners so that’s why today we have acquired our own assets. We are autonomous.”. Mamadou also expressed that he felt that there is enormous potential in West Africa.
The main objective of Air Senegal is to put Senegal on the map as a major hub for air-travel, increasing passenger capacity from two to five million by 2023 and up to ten million by 2035.
Furthermore, Air Senegal has become the latest customer to sign for the Airbus A330neo, with a tentative agreement for two of the type, they have become the first airline in Africa to select it. Airbus has described the deal as a memorandum of understanding (MoU) during the Dubai Airshow. They hope to use these brand new A330neos, equipped with Rolls Royce Trent 7000s, on their medium and long-haul networks providing the regional sector has developed first.
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